Cisco ACI vs. VMware NSX vs. EVPN

How to decide on the right data center network fabric?

Modern automated data centers are a cornerstone of IT infrastructure, with s direct impact on business operations: workloads need to be provisioned on-demand, shrunk or expanded momentarily, all while maintaining compliant, standardized configurations and policies. Networking has a crucial impact on this mission, as it shouldn’t impede scalability, while at the same time it should enable service flexibility (supporting both NFV and legacy services) and granular (micro)segmentation for security and stability.

Several vendors address this challenge, each with their design philosophy and operational model. Among them, Cisco ACI, VMware NSX, and EVPN are by far the most commonly deployed models and technologies. Deciding on one of them will have a significant impact on the rest of your data center design as well as on the investment size and eventual operational flexibility.

But how to choose?

Is Cisco ACI more suitable for your environment than VMware NSX? Why? How about using an EVPN solution from a variety of vendors in this space? Can you use white-box switches with VMware NSX? Or does it make sense to run VMware NSX on top of Cisco ACI?

We have helped several organizations find the answers to these questions and assisted in selecting the optimal approach to their data center network architecture.

Consulting and customized workshops

With our consultation services on Cisco ACI, VMware NSX, and EVPN solutions, you will gain unbiased advice and a clear road map for building a data center network that addresses your specific requirements.

Through a series of analysis and design workshops or a prolonged consulting engagement, which is led by an experienced data center architect with deep multi-vendor knowledge in this space, we address the following questions:

  • What do you really need – identification of the virtual and physical network services your data center fabric should provide, including the physical transport infrastructure, virtual networks, and security services like micro-segmentation.
  • What do various current products and technologies do – analytical overview of the available tools, for example what VMware NSX, Cisco ACI, or a standard-based EVPN solution from Arista, Brocade, Cisco, Cumulus Networks, or Juniper provides.
  • How could you implement specific network services with these products
  • How will your virtualized workload interact with the outside world
  • How will the VMs communicate with bare-metal servers
  • How can you reduce the size of failure domains in my data center
  • Can you use these products to build multi-pod or multi-DC environments

At the end of this interactive engagement, our solution architect will deliver you a detailed report document, and optionally an on-site or remote presentation. It all depends on your requirements; it can be an analysis document or a specific data center design blueprint.



As we tailor every Cisco ACI/VMware NSX/EVPN consultation to the specific customer environment, the actual outcomes can vary.

However, the following are the most common results of our engagement:

  • Your future data center road map and optimal data center network architecture blueprint
  • Explanation and understanding of the benefits and limitations of these approaches
  • Design of migration between one of these approaches to the other
  • Verification of current data center benefits
  • Knowledge transfer through customized workshops.

New data center and WAN architecture. How to choose?

Cisco ACI or VMware NSX? What to automate? How to integrate private and public clouds? Learn how we helped an international bank choose the next-gen data center and WAN infrastructure.

Read the case study

Why is NIL talking about data center fabric and SDDC?

Our experience in automation stems from the 1990s, when we designed, developed, and deployed NIL Remote Labs, a fully automated network provisioning solution. We have over 25 years of experience in software development and networking infrastructure experience, what gives us the competitive-edge in SDN-oriented projects. We combine this experience with the expertise from many infrastructure vendors, and that helps us understand vendor-related risks.

Expertise, experience, and vendor-independence are our guarantees for providing customers with an unbiased view of the architectural options that are optimal for their environment.